Why Does My MacBook Die at 20 Percent?

Updated on February 13, 2023
Why Does My MacBook Die At 20 Percent

Let’s assume you’re in class or at work and you have a draft to complete a draft as soon as possible. Your MacBook isn’t plugged into a power source but you’re still on 20 percent and that should normally be more than enough to get you to the finish line. You’re about to put in the finishing touches on the document when your MacBook shuts down!

At 20 percent!

Anyone who has been through such a thing will readily attest to how painful and shocking it can be. This is more so the case if such incidents have become a fairly common occurrence.

But, moving past that, you may find yourself starting to wonder; why does my MacBook die at 20 percent? Is this occurrence common to all MacBooks? What can I do to prevent this from happening?

Not to worry!

We’ll be answering all of these vital questions and much more in this post!

Why Does My MacBook Die at 20 Percent – What to Know

Figuring out the answer to the question of why does my MacBook die at 20 percent can be tough. One of the biggest reasons for this is that there are any number of things that can trigger this situation.

Moving forward, it’s important to stress that not all MacBooks encounter this particular problem. Having said that, you should also know that enough users experience this challenge for it to be considered a major issue.

With that established, let’s quickly run through the most likely reasons why your personal computer can shut down so abruptly.

These include but aren’t limited to:

The System Can’t Read Your Battery Properly Anymore

This is widely considered to be one of the most common causes of MacBooks shutting down suddenly at 18 to 20 percent power. This situation typically occurs when your MacBook becomes incapable of accurately reading the actual percentage level of the battery power.

When that happens, it usually means that the actual battery percentage is lower than what your computer is showing. As such, the system will go off, not despite the fact that it has 20 percent power but because it’s in reality already empty.

Short of changing the battery of the MacBook outrightly, users should consider calibrating the battery of the computer once a month as this might help fix the problem.

Your MacBook is Running Especially Powerful Programs

Another reason why your MacBook might suddenly die at around 20 percent is if you’re running power-hungry software on it at the time. For example, it wouldn’t be that unusual for your computer to abruptly shut down at that power level if you’re running programs like AutoCAD and SketchUp Pro concurrently on it.

As the MacBook likely won’t be able to process the power requirements of such demanding applications efficiently, an overload might occur which will trip it off.

It bears mentioning that while the examples we gave might fall on the somewhat extreme side of things, running multiple smaller applications at the same time might have the same effect on your device.

The immediately obvious solution to this challenge is watching the type and number of programs you run on your MacBook when you’re not close to a power source.

Your MacBook Has a Bad Battery

Last but not least, your MacBook will likely shut down at odd times if it has a bad battery. One of the clearest signs that a battery is nearing the end of its lifespan is that it won’t be able to hold a charge. It can display this issue in several ways, two of which are that it’ll probably take longer to charge, and when it does charge, it loses all that juice very quickly.

As you can imagine, the one viable solution here is to get your MacBook to a Genius Bar and get it replaced for you.

The Best Ways to Maintain the Battery Health of Your MacBook

Now, we’ve gone over core issues like why does my MacBook die at 20 percent and some of the best solutions to employ to address those problems. Now, let’s look at great ways to prevent your MacBook battery from developing these issues in the first place,

Below are some of the best measures you can adopt to make sure that your laptop’s battery serves you long and well.

Ensure That Your macOS is Updated

As you’re likely aware, Apple releases updates for MacBooks fairly frequently. Now, most users never feel inclined to update to these later versions since there’s usually nothing wrong with the one that they’re using currently.

However, it always helps to do this as these updates often come with energy-saving technologies that can help maintain the health and longevity of your battery.

Explore Your Energy-Saving Options

Most MacBooks come with built-in energy-saving options that you can take advantage of to further enhance the performance of your battery. To leverage these tools, all you have to do is make your way to the Energy Saver section.

This measure is imperative because left to its devices, your MacBook can be a huge power guzzler. As such, activating these measures will help you get things under control more firmly.

Control the Brightness of Your Screen

Yet another great way that you can extend the performance of the battery of your MacBook is by dimming the screen of the device. As you know, MacBooks have great visuals. However, these visuals usually come at the expense of your battery.

Because of that, dimming the lights is almost certain to help you get more out of your battery.

Close Apps You Aren’t Using

One of the biggest battery killers on your device is background apps. Many of these programs are usually of no use to you yet put a considerable amount of strain on your device’s battery. So, it might help to take the time to fish out and shut down these types of software.


And that’s a wrap!

Now, you have your answer to the question: why does my MacBook die at 20 percent! What’s more, you now know great ways to prevent that from happening, going forward.

You can find more awesome MacBook tips here!

Article by:
Erwin Valles

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